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Pronounced: THOR-ah-zeen
Generic name: Chlorpromazine

Why is this drug prescribed: Thorazine is used for the treatment of schizophrenia (severe disruptions in thought and perception). It is also prescribed for the short-term treatment of severe behavioral disorders in children, including explosive hyperactivity and combativeness; and for the hyperenergetic phase of manic-depressive illness (severely exaggerated moods). Thorazine is also used to control nausea and vomiting, and to relieve restlessness and apprehension before surgery. It is used as an aid in the treatment of tetanus, and is prescribed for uncontrollable hiccups and acute intermittent porphyria (attacks of severe abdominal pain sometimes accompanied by psychiatric disturbances, cramps in the arms and legs, and muscle weakness).

Most important fact about this drug: Thorazine may cause tardive dyskinesia--a condition marked by involuntary muscle spasms and twitches in the face and body. This condition may be permanent, and appears to be most common among the elderly, especially women. Ask your doctor for information about this possible risk.

How should you take this medication: If taking Thorazine in a liquid concentrate form, you will need to dilute it with a liquid such as a carbonated beverage, coffee, fruit juice, milk, tea, tomato juice, or water. Puddings, soups, and other semisolid foods may also be used. Thorazine will taste best if it is diluted immediately prior to use. You should not take Thorazine with alcohol. Do not take antacids such as Gelusil at the same time as Thorazine. Leave at least 1 to 2 hours between doses of the two drugs. --If you miss a dose... If you take Thorazine once a day, take the dose you missed as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the dose, then go back to your regular schedule. If you take more than 1 dose a day, take the one you missed as soon as you remember if it is within an hour or so of the scheduled time. If you do not remember until later, skip the dose, then go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at once. --Storage instructions... Store away from heat, light, and moisture. Do not freeze the liquid. Since the liquid concentrate form of Thorazine is light-sensitive, it should be stored in a dark place, but it does not need to be refrigerated.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Thorazine. Side effects may include: Abnormal secretion of milk, abnormalities in movement and posture, agitation, anemia, asthma, blood disorders, breast development in males, chewing movements, constipation, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, drooling, drowsiness, dry mouth, ejaculation problems, eye problems causing fixed gaze, fainting, fever, flu-like symptoms, fluid accumulation and swelling, headache, heart attack, high or low blood sugar, hives, impotence, inability to urinate, inability to move or talk, increase of appetite, infections, insomnia, intestinal blockage, involuntary movements of arms and legs, tongue, face, mouth, or jaw, irregular blood pressure, pulse, and heartbeat, irregular or no menstrual periods, jitteriness, light-headedness (on standing up), lockjaw, mask-like face, muscle stiffness and rigidity, narrow or dilated pupils, nasal congestion, nausea, pain and stiffness in the neck, persistent, painful erections, pill-rolling motion, protruding tongue, puckering of the mouth, puffing of the cheeks, rapid heartbeat, red or purple spots on the skin, rigid arms, feet, head, and muscles (including the back), seizures, sensitivity to light, severe allergic reactions, shuffling walk, skin inflammation and peeling, sore throat, spasms in jaw, face, tongue, neck, mouth, and feet, sweating, swelling of breasts in women, swelling of the throat, tremors, twitching in the body, neck, shoulders and face, twisted neck, visual problems, weight gain, yellowed skin and whites of eyes

Why should this drug not be prescribed: You should not be using Thorazine if you are taking substances that slow down mental function such as alcohol, barbiturates, or narcotics. You should not take Thorazine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any major tranquilizer containing phenothiazine.

Special warnings about this medication: You should use Thorazine cautiously if you have ever had: asthma; a brain tumor; breast cancer; intestinal blockage; emphysema; the eye condition known as glaucoma; heart, kidney, or liver disease; respiratory infections; seizures; or an abnormal bone marrow or blood condition; or if you are exposed to pesticides or extreme heat. Be aware that Thorazine can mask symptoms of brain tumor, intestinal blockage, and the neurological condition called Reye's syndrome. Stomach inflammation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and tremors may result if you suddenly stop taking Thorazine. Follow your doctor's instructions closely when discontinuing Thorazine. Thorazine can suppress the cough reflex; you may have trouble vomiting. This drug may impair your ability to drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery. Do not participate in any activities that require full alertness if you are unsure about your ability. This drug can increase your sensitivity to light. Avoid being out in the sun too long. Thorazine can cause a group of symptoms called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, which can be fatal. Some symptoms are extremely high body temperature, rigid muscles, mental changes, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and changes in heart rhythm. If you are on Thorazine for prolonged therapy, you should see your doctor for regular evaluations, since side effects can get worse over time.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Thorazine is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Thorazine with the following: Anesthetics Antacids such as Gelusil Antiseizure drugs such as Dilantin Antispasmodic drugs such as Cogentin Atropine (Donnatal) Barbiturates such as phenobarbital Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin Captopril (Capoten) Cimetidine (Tagamet) Diuretics such as Dyazide Epinephrine (EpiPen) Guanethidine Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith) MAO inhibitors (antidepressants such as Nardil and Parnate) Narcotics such as Percocet Propranolol (Inderal) Extreme drowsiness and other potentially serious effects can result if Thorazine is combined with alcohol and other mental depressants such as narcotic painkillers like Demerol. Because Thorazine prevents vomiting, it can hide the signs and symptoms of overdose of other drugs.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Thorazine during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, notify your doctor. Pregnant women should use Thorazine only if clearly needed. Thorazine appears in breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you not to breastfeed until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage: Dosage recommendations shown here are for the oral and rectal forms of the drug. For certain problems, Thorazine is also given by injection. ADULTS: Schizophrenia and Mania Your doctor will gradually increase the dosage until symptoms are controlled. You may not see full improvement for weeks or even months. Initial dosages may range from 30 to 75 milligrams daily. The amount is divided into equal doses and taken 3 or 4 times a day. If needed, your doctor may increase the dosage by 20 to 50 milligrams at semiweekly intervals. Nausea and Vomiting The usual tablet dosage is 10 to 25 milligrams, taken every 4 or 6 hours, as needed. One 100-milligram suppository can be used every 6 to 8 hours. Uncontrollable Hiccups Dosages may range from 75 to 200 milligrams daily, divided into 3 or 4 equal doses. Acute Intermittent Porphyria Dosages may range from 75 to 200 milligrams daily, divided into 3 or 4 equal doses. CHILDREN: Thorazine is generally not prescribed for children younger than 6 months. Severe Behavior Problems, Nausea, and Vomiting Dosages are based on the child's weight. Oral: The daily dose is one-quarter milligram for each pound of the child's weight, taken every 4 to 6 hours, as needed. Rectal: the usual dose is one-half milligram per pound of body weight, taken every 6 to 8 hours, as necessary. OLDER ADULTS: In general, older people take lower dosages of Thorazine, and any increase in dosage will be gradual. Because of a greater risk of low blood pressure, your doctor will watch you closely while you are taking Thorazine. Older people (especially older women) may be more susceptible to tardive dyskinesia--a possibly permanent condition characterized by involuntary muscle spasms and twitches in the face and body. Consult your doctor for information about these potential risks.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. An overdose of Thorazine can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of Thorazine overdose may include: Agitation, coma, convulsions, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, extreme sleepiness, fever, intestinal blockage, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, restlessness

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